September 22, 2023
September 22, 2023

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Light, Bright Chanukah Drinks for the Eight Nights

Sparkly seltzers, bright white wines, bubblies, and single-serve alcoholic canned beverages are great choices to cut the fat of latkes and doughnuts without the enormous mess of a cocktail table and a fridge full of mixers you’ll never finish. Whether you’re on #teamlatke (as I am, with the noted tastemaker and my colleague Nina Glick) or #teamdoughnut (as is another office colleague, popular music sensation Meir Popowitz), no one wants to pair these oily party foods with a heavy red wine or water. What should we drink this Chanukah?

If you’re going the non-alcoholic route, I can’t recommend the Polar seasonal winter limited edition seltzers highly enough. These are no-calorie, alcohol-free seltzers that come in the delicious flavors of key lime grapefruit, prickly pear and citrus, pomegranate champagne (my favorite!) and cranberry bramble. I am generally a huge fan of flavored seltzer and I like to think I’ve tried most available in the eastern U.S.. Polar, based out of Worcester, Massachusetts, has been cranking out great seasonal fruity flavor combinations for many years. All are fantastic and all are certified kosher by the OU, even my summer favorite of concord grape and mandarin orange! These come in 1.5 liter bottles and tall skinny cans. Serve them super cold, and mix with a little juice to make mocktails if that Chanukah party energy has you feeling a little wacky.

Speaking of cans, there are some amazing can options available in kosher these days, including wine and bubbly wines in thoughtfully portioned amounts. The Star-K certified Gingria, which I tasted at Emerald Imports’ booth at Kosherfest, is a ready-to-drink alcoholic beverage made from Stadaconé Rouge gin, creating a twist on the traditional Spanish citrus sangria, which is usually made from inexpensive red wine and orange liquor. The red wine is replaced with a sunny blend of citrus and cranberry juice. This beverage is very low in sugar and very pleasant and fruity.

Rambam kosher wines, from Italy, have also come out recently with four of its wines in cans, and those wines have options for all of us: sweet, dry, bubbly and still. It’s a great single-serve option, or a great way to keep a single glass of wine cold. My favorites, which I tried at Kosherfest, were the Rambam Moscato, which is a slightly less sweet version of that great sweet bubbly wine from Asti, and the Rambam Prosecco, which is simple, dry, refreshing and extremely celebratory.

J. Folk, out of South Africa, is also doubling down on its kosher canned rosé wine concept that initially hit stores in 2020, by introducing vodka mules (vodka and ginger ale) and vodka sodas in cans. This is a great idea for parties where people might want a single beverage but don’t want to buy a bunch of different bottles of alcohol and mixers. Just can it!

Speaking of South Africa, I know what I’ll be pairing with my latkes this season. The light and bright Cape Jewel Chenin Blanc 2021 comes in both regular 750 ml wine bottles and cans as well. This award-winning $10 wine that bested many others in the Jewish Link Wine Guide last year is just a great example of a bright, lovely, food-friendly South African chenin blanc, lush with notes of apple, pear, peach and blossom. It’s really my favorite wine pick of the season, and you certainly can’t beat the price.

And since no Chanukah article would be complete without a mention of how great bubbly goes with latkes and doughnuts, I’ll mention two, in two formats that couldn’t be more different.

Cava is Spain’s answer to champagne, and it’s even produced in exactly the same way (methode champenoise) for a lot less money. The Vina Memorias del Rambam Brut Reserve Cava is a delicious, easy drinking bubbly wine, and at $27, it’s available for a fraction of the cost of a traditional bottle of champers. Don’t worry, the pop will sound identical, and who knows, you might decide you like cava even better than its stuffy French counterpart.

And last but not least, for those wine drinkers who think Bartenura Moscato is the best wine in the world and can’t be convinced otherwise, I have to tell you something…Froscato is the really very bestest way to enjoy moscato. Bartenura Froscato is frozen cold enough to resemble a 7-11 slurpee! Available frozen, or ready-to-freeze, these icy ice-pops are your single serve ticket to a sweet, fizzy moscato slushy. This is a great gimmick to share at a Chanukah party, and it’s sure to go down a treat for all our blue bottle lovers out there.

Whatever wines or beverages you enjoy this Chanukah, please drink responsibly and with the cognizance that our children are watching. Happy Chanukah!

By Elizabeth Kratz


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